Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
Colon cancer is one of the most common and deadly cancers, and also one of the most preventable. Mayo Clinic experts are available to discuss the latest in colorectal cancer research, detection and treatment:
Technology and Technique Combine to Make Colorectal Cancer Surgery Less Invasive
Natural orifice surgery for colorectal cancer is the latest move to make colorectal cancer surgery easier on patients.
“As the name implies it’s surgery either done through a natural orifice or using a natural orifice as part of the surgical procedure,” says Eric Dozois, MD, a cancer specialist at Mayo Clinic. Doctors have been using the body’s natural openings for procedures such as endoscopies and colonoscopies for many years, but only recently has organ or tumor removal become possible using these openings, Dr. Dozois says.
“Different centers around the world are already removing gall bladders and appendix through the mouth. Because there’s no large incision, patients need less pain medication, shorter hospital stays and shorter recovery times,” he says.
Colorectal Cancer By the Numbers: Michael Wallace, MD, Chairman of the Division of Gastroenterology, Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.
One in roughly 16 to 20 Americans will get colon cancer. Colon cancer is preventable with screening such as colonoscopy, a procedure that is safe and painless with sedation. Colonoscopies have been shown to save lives and reduce colorectal cancer deaths by 50 percent. Alternatives include stool testing and CT scans. Bowel preparation is often the toughest part for patients but recent advances such as low volume laxatives and “split prep” make it easier. The bottom line: We have the means to prevent this disease but it only works if people use them.
Mayo Clinic Takes New Approach to Treating Young People with Colorectal Cancer
Eric Dozois, MD, heads the Young Onset Colorectal Cancer Group at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, a multispecialty group that includes a geneticist, two gastroenterologists, an epidemiologist, three surgeons, a pathologist, basic scientists and statisticians.
“We are developing clinical pathways that provide a very specialized approach for the young patient who either has known cancer or has suspected cancer,” Dr. Dozois says.
Clinical Trial Finds Drug Slows Tumor Progression in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer
An investigational drug called regorafenib slowed the progression of tumors and lengthened the lives of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, an international phase III clinical trial found. The findings were presented last month at the Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in San Francisco by Mayo Clinic oncologist Axel Grothey, MD, principal investigator of the trial in the United States.
“For years, patients with metastatic colorectal cancer have faced a devastating impasse when standard chemotherapies have failed to halt the growth of tumors and physicians have run out of effective drugs to offer them,” Dr. Grothey says. "This is the first novel agent in eight years to show improvement in overall survival of colon cancer patients who have run out of treatment options.”